July 28, 2016
font size

Definition of Vital bodily function

Vital bodily function: 1. An essential bodily function. 2. A key function for life. 3. A function required by most, if not all, people.

The definition of vital bodily functions is prerequisite to the determination of death. But what are the vital bodily functions? Do they include cerebral function? Which cerebral function? Do vital functions include spontaneous function of the respiratory system? How about assisted ventilation? And is one of the vital functions the spontaneous operation of the circulatory system? If a person is on a heart-lung machine, do they still have vital bodily functions? Or are they dead?

Vital bodily functions also may include urination and defecation, as reflected, for example, by the statement in a nursing journal that: "Ostomy surgery is a life-enhancing procedure that restores a vital bodily function."

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

Drug Medical Dictionary of Terms by Letter

Top RxList Drug News

Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations